Finding the time to write with a full-time job - or if you’re in college - or if you have a baby - can be difficult.
Real life just gets in the way and making time to write can seem as impossible as squeezing a 25th hour into the day.
However, it is possible.
I’ll tell you about my situation:
For the last two years or so I’ve been absolutely killing it as a freelance writer.
I’ve worked an insane amount of hours, and spent a lot of my time writing.
But besides writing for clients, how have I managed to find the time - and the energy - to write my own novels (two), a collection of short stories, AND launch my website?
First, let’s focus on this year alone:
We’re six months into 2017, and already I’ve written a TON of content.
Honestly, the amount I’ve pumped out for clients could fill a landfill if it were ever printed out.
I’ve also finished work on a collection of my own short stories, knocked out two sitcom episodes, some poetry, and launched my website.
Plus I have an active social life, and I recently spent a week chilling in London.
How do I do it all? How do I find the time to write SO much?
It’s a problem all aspiring writers wrestle with: Finding the time to write with a full time job or any other full-time commitments, such as school or babies.
As such, making time to write is just off your radar.
Perhaps you write a bit here and a bit there, but you’re not building any sort of momentum.
You’re working with mere scraps of time, and at this rate your novel won’t be complete until 2050, a time when novels won’t even exist anymore (I’m kidding, there’s no need to Google it).
To help you out, here are my tips entwined with my own personal story:
Don’t Overcommit To Other People
It’s all about priorities. If you really want to make time to write, you will find the time to write.
A few years back when I was at college, I was working on a play for a competition.
It took me a long time to complete it because I was out partying a lot.
But I wasn’t out partying all the time. And this is the important bit.
I’ve always been good at making sacrifices when I know I need to.
And I truly believe this has helped me to get ahead.
There would be weekends when I’d tell my buddies I’m staying in to work on my play.
I got teased for it, and I got bombarded with texts persuading me to go out. But I stuck to my guns because I knew I had to do this.
Make your dream of being a writer bigger than all your other goals. Make this your special dream. Once you do this, you won’t overcommit to other people. Because from then on, every decision you make will be made with your dream of becoming a writer.
“If I go camping this weekend, how much will this set me back from my writing goals?”
The thing with us humans is that we like to be consistent. Tony Robbins talks about this a lot, and there is a cool YouTube video on his 6 Rules of Consistent Action.
So when we tell someone we’re going to do something, we make sure we do it.
This is bad news for writers looking how to find the time to write.
Stop over-committing to people. Put yourself first.
Kill The Commute
I write for a living, which means I have to find the time to write.
But I’m not talking about writing for a living in this article, I’m talking about writing for ourselves.
What’s helped me, though, is that I work from home. As such, I don’t need to waste any time commuting to work. My bed is a few feet away from my desk!
If you can work as a freelancer, you’ve got a far better chance of finding the time to write. You’re already winning because you automatically have more hours available to you by default.
If you can’t work as a freelancer, try to find a way of cutting down your commute time. Maybe you could move closer to work, or - if you’re in college - you could go and live on campus.
Either way, finding time to free up more hours in your day often means finding a way of killing - or at least easing - the commute to work and back.
Wake Up Earlier
It’s Saturday, you’ve been working all week, and you feel as though you deserve a lie-in.
If you get out of bed any earlier than 9am, you feel cheated.
Get this: If you get out of bed late… you’re cheating yourself.
There is nothing wrong with getting up early, seizing the day and getting things done.
It’s the only way if you want to succeed.
If you’re not getting up early, the chances are you’re making excuses and cheating yourself.
I always get up at 8am after my six hours of sleep. I’ve then got plenty of time in my day to finish work for clients, before writing my own stuff.
Write On Your Phone
You’re on your lunch break at work and an idea pops into your head.
Are you going to leave it there to simmer until you get home, at which point it’s already vanished without a trace?
Or are you going to get your phone out and write it down?
And how about when you’re waiting for a bus? Or you going to stand there and complain to all the other passengers that the bus is late again? Or are you going to write something on your phone that you can tidy up when you get home?
Write At Seemingly Odd Times
Making time to write is sometimes as simple as writing at odd intervals.
It’s 11pm and you haven’t written a thing today. Rats. Oh well, better luck tomorrow.
But wait a minute. Why can’t you write 11pm now until 3am? What’s stopping you, especially if you’re not tired?
Writers are known for having odd writing routines. Balzac never wrote during the day - he did all his writing throughout the night.
In more contemporary times, entrepreneur Tim Ferris says he comes up with his best writing between midnight and 3am.
Don’t be afraid of opening MS Word at bizarre times. You’re a writer - you’re meant to be eccentric!
Stay Mentally Fresh
I eat clean, I wake up early, I get as much sleep as my body needs (six hours - no more, no less), and I take naps.
And I believe all this is essential for me if I’m to stay mentally alert so that I can write at times when others are perhaps “exhausted” and just want to chill with a box set after a long day at work.
At the end of the day, if you want to turn being a writer, finding time to write with a full-time job or with a baby or with school will happen. You’ll make it happen.
Time is available to us all.
There are 24 hours in a day. Let’s say you spend 8 hours at work and 2 travelling to work and back. Let’s say you spend 7 hours in bed.
That still leaves you with another 7 hours.
So where is it all going? Game of Thrones?
Now, where’s the coffee …